The Private Equity (PE) arm of Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – L Capital with Ravi Thakran at the helm of affairs gave a lot of hope to the Indian Fashion Fraternity to see ‘corporatisation’ of Indian Fashion Industry. Ravi Thakran being an Indian led the Desi fash-frat to unjustifiably believe that L Capital with a corpus fund of $ 650 Million would really see some huge investment in Indian Designer Labels. But as I mentioned – it was an‘unjustifiable’ expectation.
L Capital heavily invested in Genesis Luxury and took 25.5% stake in the company. Here I must say that Sanjay Kapoor of Genesis Luxury who is a former banker must have used his financial expertise to secure that huge chunk of investment from L Capital. Other brand where L Capital picked up stakes was Fabindia – L Capital holds 8% stake.
Finally L Capital turned its focus to the niche segment of Indian designer-wear. The reports of L Capital investing in Rohit Bal and Sabyasachi Mukherjee and in multi-designer retail chain – Evoluzione still stands unconfirmed. The talks are in final stages is what we still hear. This news sparked off various unconfirmed reports that Sabyasachi’s brand has been valued much higher than that of Rohit Bal’s and why Evoluzione and why not Ensemble. Ravi Thakran and Rohit Bal are old friends and when Thakran was heading Omega Watches, he sponsored a grand show of Bal’s at the American Ambassador’s (The Lundquists!) residence where Shahrukh Khan was the show-stopper. Murmurs of L Capital investing in Rohit Bal because Thakran and Bal are buddies had been floating but I personally discount it as gossip as PE firm of L Capital’s stature don’t do business on the basis of friendship. Gossip on why Evoluzione and why not Ensemble has many conspiracy theories.
But it’s high time L Capital comes out with a status report on what’s happening with the investments in Rohit Bal, Sabysachi Mukherjee and Evoluzione. Also how significant is the news that L Capital is planning to replicate the LVMH model in India? This is what I am reading - “Along with consolidating their separate labels under a single corporate structure, each of them will get a chance to scale up and reach domestic as well as global markets. L Capital plans to invest close to Rs 200 crores in the venture, which is being planned as a company that will own significant minority stakes in the design houses of these well-known designers and will forge a joint venture with Evoluzione for back-end distribution business. Gradually, more known designers will be brought on board to expand the business horizons.” Well if this happens I feel it is something the Indian designers always needed and it will definitely be an impetus to the desi designers. If LVMH-type structure comes up in India, it would definitely assist in consolidating and projecting Indian fashion to the world, besides helping brands with marketing, retailing and identifying suitable real estate to increase scale, pare costs, improve operating efficiency and boost profits.
The bi-annual Lakme Fashion Week was losing sheen with not so great designers showcasing their work. But the lineup of designers for the Winter/Festive 2011 edition of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai seems impressive and being a Delhi-ite I am only too proud to say that the sheen is added by Delhi designers.
Rohit Bal is doing an off-site show at the Winter/Festive 2011 Lakme Fashion Week. This doesn’t come as a surprise because Bal was inducted in the Team of Advisors of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) last year. He is also on the Board of Fashion Designers Council of India (FDCI). What comes as a surprise however is the participation of senior Delhi designers who are (or were) in the Board of FDCI that holds the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW). These designers are JJ Valaya and Rina Dhaka. Wendell Rodricks lately became a regular at WIFW and many say that Rodricks had a fall out with LFW hence the new found loyalty with FDCI. Well Wendell Rodricks too is showcasing at LFW this time besides other stalwarts like Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Narendra Kumar.
Though the friction between FDCI and Lakme is currently at its minimal state, there’s no denying that there exists a shimmering rivalry between the organisors of the two fashion weeks – WIFW and LFW. Major poaching and lobbying takes place like alluring designers with sponsored shows and what not.
Now we also have a new Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance post the exit of former MD of IMG Reliance, Ravi Krishnan. Anjana Sharma, Director-Fashion at IMG Reliance seems to be a team worker and I have heard only good things about her till now.
Now that the Lakme Fashion Week has got an impressive lineup of shows, I sincerely hope that they also improve on the business aspect of the fashion week and not forget that Fashion Weeks are essentially Trade Shows and not Bollywood Tamasha. Heard that the business aspect has been rejuvenated too. Well I will reserve my opinion on that till the week gets over!
The Synergy1 Delhi Couture Week 2011 ended in a crescendo and peaked with the last show by none other than Rohit Bal. He truly amazes me as season after season Bal comes out with a collection that is simply awe-inspiring.
I often debate that Couture in India shouldn’t be confused with wedding wear. Many disagree with me but if we see Couture in Paris, we get to understand it clearly. As per me couture collection of a designer showcases the limits of his/her creativity, the expanse of his/her vision that often takes us on a flight of fantasy and is a reflection of what the designer’s RTW collection would be. Couture collection necessitates a whole lot of drama, as it is often larger than life vision of a couturier.
Based on these parameters I have chosen three couturiers who showcased a couture collection that deserves appreciation.
Rohit Bal showcased a fabulous collection. His collection did not have Bling that many associate with Couture. But the very finesse, the intricacies of detailing on each ensemble, innovations and the overall luxe feel of the ensembles deserves salutations. Bal’s classic silhouettes of A-Shaped ensembles with tapered torso flowing out voluminously at the hem and his floor-duster jackets were embellished with dori-embroidery, copper-coloured metallic threads, Gota, appliqué and cut-work that brought to life the Peacock motif used predominantly literally made them ‘Museum Pieces’. Hats off to Gudda and his depth of creativity!
Manav Gangwani on the other hand is the master of Bling. But Bling alone can’t make an ensemble beautiful. What matters are the tasteful employment of Bling, their placement and above all the finish of the ensemble. The fishtail gowns were exquisitely crafted; the finish looked immaculate and to that Manav added loads of drama by moulding the crystal-encrusted collars like dramatic capes. The color story too was interesting and the shaded yellow sarees, tiered gowns with Gota borders and Corset-like bejeweled tops grabbed many eyeballs.
Gaurav Gupta yet again showed his mastery over drapery and his 3-dimensional embroidery stood out brilliantly. His pre-stitched sarees with bejeweled pallus draped in sensual form would find many takers but the real breath-taking pieces were the one-shoulder gowns crafted with draped technique and corsage like creations on the shoulder.
Other Couturiers who deserve mention for a goo collection are Varun Bahl and Shantanu & Nikhil Mehra.
I have had heard that Lalit Tehlan, the model and Rohit Bal’s live-in boyfriend was seeing a firang girl. But I was utterly surprised to discover that Lalit is already married to this girl – Manizhe Karimi, who too is a model, based out of Pune. She was the ‘Fresh New Faces’ at the just concluded WIFW A/W 2011. Rohit Bal was part of the Jury that selected ‘New Faces’ but I don’t see any favouritism here because the Jury was rather diverse.
Lalit got married to Manizhe on the 18th of February 2011 at the Arya Samaj Mandir in Saket, New Delhi. He turned out to be a total Chupa Rustam! Look at the Marriage Certificate below.Now wonder who Rohit Bal a.k.a Gudda is seeing???